Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The 'Hacking' Nomad List and the Escalation League

My tournament faction has been vanilla Nomads for quite some time now, but recently I changed my approach. Instead of the usual 'shoot, shoot, bang, bang' list, I ventured into a different strategy of aggressive hacking. This has opened up some new and interesting possibilities, and where it may not have lead to a massive increase to my victory percentage, it has given my opponents a great deal more to think about in our games. 

Above: No need of printed lists for Joe or Richard.

Earlier in the Summer, Nathan had played a two Nomad Interventor list against me. He also had an EVO Remote and a number of other Repeater carrying Rems. Although there wasn't a great deal of offensive hacking in the game, it did make me think about how dangerous two WIP 15 hackers could be.   

In video battle reports on the internet, and most games down the club, the main focus appears to be on the use of guns and bullets rather than the dark arts. I suspect there are a number of reasons for this:
- hacking attacks aren't as exciting as shooting your opponents models,
- the number of 'shots' per shooting attack is usually higher than hacking bursts, 
- on learning the game, shooting/dodging is one of the mechanics that people learn first and therefore they feel more comfortable with it. Hacking is usually left until later, by which time, everyone is in love with HMGs and Spitfires, 
- there are less offensive targets for hackers as they are limited to fellow Hackers, Tags, Rems and Heavy Infantry. 

However, the aforementioned game with Nathan coincided with a second game I had against Ed's Steel Phalanx. I took first turn and moved a Spektr up the table, who dropped a Repeater within 8 inches of Hector's and his link team. I successfully isolated Hector, until an attendant engineer 'fixed' him. But it got me thinking about how annoying Hacking could be for my opponents, especially, if I could also inconvenience them with a Repeater, or two.

Above: In the recent game with Nathan my hidden Spektr dropped his Repeater as an ARO within 8 inches of a number of the enemy Nomad forces. Nathan spent a great many orders attempting to rid himself of the problem.

Above: Hector and his link team proceed across the table, a Fast Panda awaits them in the warehouse.

I appreciate that this a not in anyway a new idea, but, sometimes I play armies and factions, and don't see the appeal or understand the playing style. This Hacking insight was an epiphany moment for me, and has given me a new purpose playing Nomads, and I am really enjoying them again.

My recent games have been played with variations on the following list. This is the most recent incarnation:

Group One
- Interventor Hacker Lieutenant 
- Interventor (Boarding Shotgun)
- Moran Forward Observer and Repeater
- Prowler (Spitfire)
- Moderator Paramedic
- Jaguar (Chain Rifle)
- Jaguar (Chain Rifle)
- Intruder (Combi-Rifle)
- Vertigo Zond

Group Two
- Spektr (Deployable Repeater)
- Spektr (Boarding Shotgun)
- Moderator
- Alguacil
- Zero Assault Hacker

And where things have gone well in my recent games, this has been due to:
- the enemy's  hackable units were pivotal to my opponent's mission (Hector, in the case of Ed's Aleph),
- the mission contained objectives which were all repeaters,
- I was very aggressive with the hidden Spektr, who managed to infiltrate into my enemy's side of the table and lay a Repeater close enough to interfere with their plans.

The Problems

1. It helps if your opponent has taken something in their list which can be influenced by hacking. However, there are still hacking programs which can still target a non hackable target. Spotlighting a model in the active turn and then directing guided missiles at them can deal with the most resilient of foes. However, you will find that your valuable orders will disappear very quickly and the U-Turn program is also a thing. However, be aware that you can fire the smart missile launcher only five times in you active turn.

2. With an initiative will power roll-off value of 15, and my two Interventors differently armed, with a Shotgun and a Combi-rifle, a knowledgeable opponent knows it is only the latter who could be my Lieutenant. 

3. The Spektr is looking for an 11 when he attempts to infiltrate over the centre line. This is great when it works, but it is a high risk strategy. If I can be fairly sure of his involvement in the game, then I will go hidden on my side of the table, with no WiP roll required.

I will be taking variations of the list to the next ITS tournament in Woking in October, and Mike and myself are feverishly practicing the three missions.

In other news, the Escalation League began last Friday night at the club. I played my 150 point Hassim Bahram list versus Nathan, and some more of his Nomads. Nathan got the win. Three other League games took place, and I will be collecting the results to put together the first league table.

As always, enjoy your gaming.



  1. So, now ITS season 9 has dropped, what are we going to do????

  2. Dear Mister E. Rusk. Your pithy words, insightful tactics and pictures of pretty, pretty terrain are terribly missed on the InterWebz. Please correct this oversight and start blogging again!